A dig into the past bringing in tourists

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Sunday, August 24th, 2014

MILLEN, Ga. (WRDW)- Hundreds of artifacts now seeing the light of day. The story of Camp Lawton has been dug up.

"I stood back for a second and thought this is probably the first time since all the men were here that there that this many people were on this property at one time," said Nina Raeth.

Camp Lawton was a civil war POW camp that housed over 10,000 union soldiers. It's one of the few places in the United States with this much civil war history.

The prison's story went from paperback to your TV. PBS Time Team America will feature these hidden treasures this week.

"I was the second person to hold that token in 148 years and that's when it really dawned on me the significance of all of this," said Raeth.

Two years ago, PBS along with Georgia Southern did mutliple digs of the area and found tokens, utensils, coins, and buttons. Nina whose great grandfather was a prisoner here says everything she finds reminds her of him.

"Perhaps his hands have touched that it would be something that would mean a lot but it's a question that will never be answered," said Raeth.

It's in this dig that they found one of the most important artifacts. The prison wall which extended all the way this way.

Now, they're doing more digs with one objective in mind.
"One of the goals is to try to find where the main gate was. they have an idea or two where they're at," said Raeth.

More people have already been making their way to the small town of Millen to see the history for themselves. Now, that they'll be gaining some national attention, it's something they hope helps bring in money. Millen has one of the highest unemployment rates in Georgia.
Right now, they're at a 14.6% double the state's 7.4 percent.

"Oh it's got to help millen and Waynesboro. Those are the two closest communities here and I'm sure it will a lot and that's what they're hoping for," said Raeth.

Hidden pieces of history they'll be uncovering for years to come.
Time Team America's feature on Camp Lawton will air this Tuesday, August 26th at 9 P.M. on PBS.